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Fiat Turns to Gucci as 500 Falls Short in U.S.

Maker to add high-style model of minicar.

by on Aug.17, 2011

Two Italian icons come together as Fiat launches the latest version of its minicar, the 500 Gucci edition.

Fiat’s latest version of the little 500 minicar will make its debut on the runway rather than the auto show stage, the high-style Gucci edition debuting on September 8th during New York’s annual Fashion Week, a week ahead of the annual Frankfurt Motor Show where many of the maker’s other new product will be unveiled.

Attracting fashionistas will be critical for the Italian automaker which is in the midst of its re-launch in a U.S. market it had abandoned two decades earlier.  But despite the upcoming introduction of yet another version of the Fiat 500, investors are growing concerned that the maker’s American revival isn’t going as well as planned.

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Fiat shares fell by as much as 6% in Italy on Tuesday, reflecting mounting concerns about the sales shortfall for the 500 in the States.  Through the end of July, American motorists had purchased just 11,500 of the cars, making it increasingly unlikely Fiat can hit its 50,000 target for 2011.

Launched earlier this year in coupe form, Fiat revealed the convertible version of the minicar at the April New York Auto Show and will shortly add the Fiat 500 by Gucci, the most stylish – but also the most expensive version of the 4-seater yet.

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Marty’s Marketing Minutia: Fiat Meets Gucci

Two of Italy’s best combine in a new logomobile.

by on Feb.28, 2011

Two Italian legends team up in the Gucci Fiat 500.

Fashionistas, devotees and logo lovers of style, elegance and panache can now rejoice: the most famous fashion logo in the world, Gucci’s double G, is now an official part of Italian automotive heritage, history and haute couture.

Ciao e benvenuto to the ‘500 by Gucci’! Bellisimo.

The international fashion press went ga-ga last week during the Milan Fashion Week when  Gucci’s Creative Director Frida Giannini introduced the new Gucci edition 500 during the packed Gucci fashion show in Milan. She stated, “In the 50s, the Fiat 500 created a style revolution when it first hit the road. It quickly became the must-have car of its time. Travelling in style has also been at the heart of Gucci ever since Guccio Gucci founded his company as a producer of leather trunks, suitcases and handbags in 1921.”  (Click Here for a video clip of an interview with Frida Giannini.)

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In fact the introduction of the 500 by Gucci is more than the usual auto brand and designer licensing deal (remember the Bill Blass Lincoln?) paying a six or seven percent royalty. It is a celebration of Italy’s 150th anniversary as a nation and the founding of Gucci 90 years ago. Gucci and Fiat, arguably are the two best known Italian brand names in the world.

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